Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Employment and Labour said there are some agricultural sector employers in the province who are contravening labour laws.
This was revealed by the department during a joint Parliamentary Portfolio Committees’ stakeholder engagement session in the Amajuba District Municipality on Friday.
The department’s chief inspector in KZN, Edward Khambula, presented statistical findings on the department’s farm inspections conducted in 2021/2022 and the first quarter of the 2022/2023 financial year in the province, to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform and to the committee on Employment and Labour during the stakeholder engagement session in Newcastle.
Other stakeholders who attended the stakeholder engagement session included a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Land Matters and the Legislature in KZN Sibhidla Saphetha and KZN SAPS Commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.
Members from Legal Aid SA; SA Human Rights Commission; KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (Kwanalu); local leadership of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and several community organisations also attended.
The department’s inspectors visited almost 2000 farms in the 2021/2022 financial year to see if labour laws are being adhered to.
It was revealed that a total of 23% of non-compliance by employers in the agriculture sector in KZN have been recorded in respect of the several labour laws the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA), Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), Unemployment Insurance Act (UIA); Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act (UICA) and Employment Equity Act (EEA).
Khambula said it was discovered of the farms that were visited that 8% of employers are not paying the national minimum wage and they are also not adhering to the sectoral determination such as providing written contracts of employment to workers, issuing of payslips and attendance register.
He added that some workers would work overtime and not get compensated accordingly for overtime work.
“Under the safety conditions, we discovered that 58 percent of employers that were visited by inspectors are not adhering to the labour laws accordingly under the safety conditions.
“We also discovered that 70% of employers that were visited were not adhering accordingly under the Unemployment Insurance Act and the Unemployment Contributions Act,” said Khambula.
Khambula said employers were most failing by not declaring their employees with the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
The department said the compensation fund legislation discovered that 53% of employers who were visited are also having problems in terms of registering employees.
Under the Employment Equity Act to promote affirmative action at work, it was discovered that 69% of employers who were visited were also lacking in compliance with the Act, it said.